Based on recent confirmations, it does not look like the Formula 1 driver lineup will feature a ton of changes for 2023. But there are still some question marks.
Earlier this week, Pierre Gasly became the latest driver to be confirmed by his current team for the 2023 Formula 1 season, with AlphaTauri making the announcement that he is set to be back with the organization for what amounts to a seventh season.
This announcement continued a trend of very minimal change to the driver lineup for next year. Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine, AlphaTauri, and Alfa Romeo all appear to be keeping the same lineups for next year, and Williams are reportedly planning to replace Nicholas Latifi with Oscar Piastri alongside Alexander Albon.
That leaves three teams who hold the cards to this year’s silly season, and each one is doing so with one driver in particular.
Formula 1 silly season: No. 1 – Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
Daniel Ricciardo has a contract with McLaren that runs through the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season, but his struggles since joining the team last year have led many to believe that the deal could be ended a year early. There are reportedly “mechanisms” in place in that contract which would allow that to take place.
The question is, what exactly are those “mechanisms”, what are the factors that go into them, and who really has the ability to make the decision on Ricciardo’s future with the team beyond 2022?
With McLaren also running the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team and expanding that operation to three cars, in addition to starting a Formula E team by purchasing Mercedes-EQ, could Ricciardo technically stick with the organization through 2023, but in a different series?
Current Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist just signed a contract extension for 2023, yet that contract doesn’t specifically tie him to IndyCar.
So will Ricciardo be back for another season alongside Lando Norris, who is under contract through the 2025 season, or will McLaren shake things up by bringing in somebody new? If they do bring in somebody new, would Ricciardo indeed stay with the organization, or would he end up signing with a new Formula 1 team?